LONG POND, Pa. – Will Power held off Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden on Sunday to win the IndyCar race at Pocono Raceway for the second straight year.
Power’s third win of the season gave his championship run a serious boost with three races left in the season. The Australian rallied from a lap down and made all the right moves over the final few laps to cut off Newgarden and end the American’s bid for three straight victories.
“I just picked people off one by one. Just be smart, You can never give up in IndyCar because you don’t know what can happen,” Power said. “We got our lap back and made it to the front.”
Team owner Roger Penske had a successful run at Pocono with the 1-2 finish, and Simon Pagenaud was fourth and Helio Castroneves seventh.
“When one car wins, we kind of all win,” Newgarden said.
Newgarden still holds the series points lead as he tries to hold off veterans Scott Dixon and Castroneves and for his first career IndyCar championship.
Power also won on the road course at Indianapolis and the Texas Motor Speedway oval this season. He has 32 career victories to move into ninth place on IndyCar’s list. Power zipped past Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy on the list and is two wins shy from catching Al Unser Jr.
He was slowed early in the race when he was forced to pit to repair a broken wing.
“It was a seriously dramatic day,” Power said
Alexander Rossi, the 2016 Indianapolis 500 champion, was third.
The 26-year-old Newgarden won at Toronto and Mid-Ohio to grab the points lead and seemed poised to pass Power with about three laps left. Power masterfully protected the inside line and never let Newgarden make the decisive pass.
“From a points standpoint, you don’t want to wreck your teammate and you don’t want to give up where I’m at,” Newgarden said. “It’s a Team Penske victory. I’m disappointed for not winning but I can’t be disappointed from a points standpoint. We had everything we needed.”
Newgarden has an 18-point lead over Dixon and a 22-point advantage over Castroneves.
Ryan Hunter-Reay was cleared to drive following a violent accident during qualifying that sent him to the hospital. Hunter-Reay lost control of his Honda on Saturday and slammed into the wall. He hurt his hip and knees in the wreck and needed a CT scan and MRI.
Hunter-Reay, the 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner, was treated and released from the hospital Saturday night. He was evaluated Sunday morning and cleared to drive by the IndyCar medical director.
“It’s like a relationship; you’ve got to build your trust back up with the car,” Hunter-Reay said.
His last win came at Pocono in 2015. He led the race around the halfway point and finished eighth on Sunday.
“The fact that I could race today was unreal,” he said.
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